When the lawyers representing Christopher Plaskon return to court in March, they hope to present a report that supports an insanity plea for their client, who is charged with murder in the stabbing death of a fellow high school student in April.
Plaskon’s case was continued Friday to March 31, when psychological examinations are expected to be complete.
The 17-year-old Milford resident has been undergoing evaluations since November, and the final phase of that — what attorney Edward Gavin called neuro-psychological testing — is coming up.
Gavin described the testing as standardized tests designed to determine a person’s mental capacity and maturity.
The multi-phased evaluations are meant to determine Plaskon’s competency, including whether he has the ability to understand his actions and the possible consequences.
“I’m very confident we will have the evaluations complete March 31,” Gavin said.
Plaskon is being held at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire on $3 million bond.
Plaskon has pled not guilty to a charge of murder, and his lawyers have said they expect the defense will be based on one of three forms of an insanity plea. The report they deliver in March is the key to that plea, Gavin said, explaining that medical experts have to find flaws in Plaskon’s mental capacity in order to pursue the insanity plea.
Once the defense presents its report, the prosecutor can order his own independent medical evaluation.
When pre-trial hearings are complete, the case will be presented to a three-judge panel, rather than a traditional jury, because Plaskon’s lawyers said they think judges will be better equipped to understand issues surrounding mental illness.
Plaskon wore a yellow jumpsuit in court Friday, and Gavin stood in as his court-appointed guardian. The young man’s uncle, Paul Healy, has served as his guardian during previous court proceedings, but Judge Frank Iannotti allowed Gavin to serve as guardian at Friday’s hearing because Healy was unavailable.
Other family members, including Plaskon’s parents, were at the courthouse for the brief, morning proceedings.
Plaskon is “doing fine at the Manson Youth Institute,” Gavin said. When he was first brought there he was on a suicide watch but he isn’t any longer. Gavin would not comment on whether Plaskon is being treated with medication.
Plaskon is accused of stabbing fellow student Maren Sanchez in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School on what would have been her prom day, April 25, 2014.
Sources say Plaskon stabbed Maren because she was not going to the prom with him.